This is where things happen in Traverse City (aside from our gorgeous beaches, of course). The East end of the Front Street Strip is marked by Little Fleet (the food truck lot) and the West end by one of Traverse City’s newest restaurants, The Bu-Shi Factory (Burger/Sushi fusion – for real). The mile in between contains the heart of our town with pedestrian-friendly paths, on-street dining, book stores, a camera shop, a bath and body shop, and plenty of locally owned restaurants.
Also known as WOMP, has nine unique wineries that welcome visitors. Mari Vineyards is our newest winery and it is I-M-P-R-E-S-S-I-V-E. Seriously, it feels like a castle in the tasting room and the outdoor seating has plenty of room for the little ones to run while you enjoy the vistas. The most northern winery is 2 Lads Winery (my favorite wine and people), where you will find delicious blends and tasty snacks.
Eighteen miles straight up M-37, Mission Point Lighthouse stands as a classic piece of Michigan history. Operating from 1870 until it was decommissioned in 1933, the Lighthouse now offers visitors a peek into what life was like around the turn of the century for lighthouse keepers. Guests are invited to climb all the way up to the tower, explore the miles of unspoiled trails that run through and around the park, stroll the beach, and gaze out at the sunset.
Miles of sandy beach, bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, unique flora and fauna are all waiting for you at the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Seriously, it’s cool. Park in the generous-sized parking lot and climb the dunes and then follow the trail out to Lake Michigan – or kayak over and view the Dunes from another angle!
Possibly haunted, the Commons is a historic preservation and adaptive reuse redevelopment of dozens of historic buildings formerly a state-run asylum. Shopping, restaurants, a brewpub, an indoor farmers’ market, and plenty of community events take place on the campus – we love taking our daughter to the free concerts on the lawn on Thursday evenings in the summer!
The Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail is a 10.5-mile-long paved trail that supports runners, walkers, and cyclers. It connects to over 100 miles of other regional multi-use trails in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. We recommend pedaling north to Suttons Bay, grabbing a heavenly chocolate croissant at 9 Bean Rows, and letting the bike-n-ride program through our public bus service bring you and your bikes back to Traverse City.
An arts education program for students in grades 3-12 and adults of all ages, Interlochen also hosts hundreds of concerts and events and is home to two award-winning public radio stations. Interlochen was founded in 1928 and is located in beautiful northwest lower Michigan. Each year, thousands of artists and arts patrons come to Interlochen to experience world-class educational and cultural opportunities.
The Butterfly House is open May to October and provides an educational and fun place to take kids to learn about the wonders of butterflies and their bug relatives. Please check their Facebook page before heading up.
Buchan’s is a 100-year-old family run fruit farm which offers pick your own blueberries, apples, and peaches in season. They make their own fresh homemade ice cream in the summer. Visit with the kids or for an ice cream with your boo.
On West Bay, Clinch Park has trails, kayak and paddle board rentals, a marina and beach area to lay and play, hammocks, volleyball courts, an ice cream shop, jungle gym, and splash pad for the kids and Bijou by the Bay theatre. So grab a cool, refreshing drink and watch little Suzie and Jackson enjoy the splash pad while making some amazing Traverse City memories!
The museum caters to children aged 1-8 with slides, a giant water table, and interactive US Coast Guard exhibits.
BBBT is a 10,000-square foot indoor play center with a variety of inflatable bouncers and obstacle courses to tire out elementary school aged children and younger. Parents can bounce too, so dress comfortably!